Food or Comics? | Black beans or Black Beetle

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Graeme McMillan

It's beginning to look a lot like the final Wednesday before Christmas (and the final full one of the year), so with my $15, I'd get some gifts for myself that I know I'll enjoy: the second issue of Chris Roberson (and now, Dennis Calero)'s Masks (Dynamite, $3.99), the third issue of Brandon Graham's Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity (Image, $2.99) and Francesco Francavilla's The Black Beetle: Night Shift #0 (Dark Horse, $2.99). Also, I suspect that I'll be unable to resist the first part of Vertigo's adaptation of Django Unchained (DC/Vertigo, $3.99), too.

If I had $30, I'd add another pile of favorites to that list: Judge Dredd #2 (IDW, $3.99), the by-now-amazingly-late-but-still-enjoyable Bionic Woman #6 (Dynamite, $3.99), Hawkeye #6 (Marvel Comics, $2.99), and the latest issue of the always-wonderful Saga (Image, $2.99).

When it comes to splurging, however, then I'm going to be playing it relatively cheaply: That Star Trek 100-Page Winter Spectacular (IDW, $7.99) feels like it might offer just the kind of space-age cheer I'll be grateful for by mid-week … Happy Warpspeed Holidays, all.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15 after buying last-minute Christmas presents, I’d head out to my local comic shop and make a beeline toward Dark Horse Presents #19 ($7.99, Dark Horse). The nearly $8 price point might scare off some, but pound for pound it’s the best comics for your money. Looking at the solicits, this issue has Gabriel Hardman's creator-owned giant monsters as well as a strip by Ulises Farinas. After that I’d continue on the creator-owned tip and get two Image offerings Multiple Warheads: Alphabet To Infinity #3 (Image, $2.99) and Saga #8 (Image, $2.99). These are two of my favorite books coming out on stands today, both sci-fi and both worlds apart. I’m not pushing for a crossover here (although that would be interesting), but these two show off just how potent the modern Image line is. Keep it up!

If I had $30 (IF!), you’d find me spending the rest on the Marvel shelves. First up, Thor: God of Thunder #3 (Marvel, $3.99). Somehow, Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic have lived up to my bad joke of comparing this to the KISS song “God of Thunder” in all the right ways. Remender and Co. would get my money next, with the finale of Uncanny X-Force #35 (Marvel, $3.99) and Secret Avengers #35 (Marvel, $3.99). Although Uncanny X-Force is going out with less of a bang than I hoped, Remender’s great at conclusions (Fear Agent, brother!) so I’m excited to see that. And Phil Noto seems to be on fire here. Last up would be Wolverine and the X-Men #22 (Marvel, $3.99). I’m still not sold on Frankenstein’s Murder Circus, but I’ll let Aaron and Bradshaw keep going with my wallet here in hopes of surprising me.

If I got a Christmas bonus and could splurge, I’d delve into the unknown with Humanoids’ Alliance of the Curious HC (Humanoids, $29.95). Michael May made me aware of this back in September’s What Looks Good here at Robot 6, and what I can find about this art-wise by Philippe Riche looks promising. Antique dealers as supernatural explorers? Count me in.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15, I'd gladly pick up The Return of the Magic Whistle, a.k.a. Magic Whistle #12. Sam Henderson's off-kilter humor series has lain fallow for more years than I care to contemplate and it's nice to see his absurdist shenanigans return to the comic rack once more. Then, if I was really in a mood to keep spending, I'd pick up the fifth issue of Classic Popeye, for more goofball, Bud Sagendorf adventures.

If I had $30, I already have a copy of the original edition, but I'd at least flip through the new, hardcover collection of Don't Go Where I Can't Follow, Anders Nilsen's part comics/part scrapbook/part memoir of his fiance who died of cancer at far too young an age. I tend to favor The End, Nilsen's comic dealing with his grief (coming in an expanded version soon), but that's not to belittle this book in any way, which is still a haunting, sad but ultimately life-affirming collection of young love cut short.

Oh man, so much great stuff to splurge on this week. Let's start with Spacehawk, Basil Wolverton's fabulous, fantabulous astronaut superhero from the alleged Golden Age. Lots of bizarre aliens and shifty-eyed villains in this one. Then there's the second volume of Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy (which I praised in a recent edition of WAYR the other week), and the second volume of Walt Kelly's Pogo Possum, Bona Fide Balderdash. Finally, I see where Before the Incal, a prequel to the classic sci-fi saga by Jodorowsky and Zoran Janetov, is available in a (slightly) more affordable edition. I shall likely go broke this week, but at least I'll have plenty of good comics to read on my way to the poorhouse.

Michael May

If I only had $15, I'd make sure I grabbed my copy of Saga #8 ($2.99) naturally, as well as the second issue of the new FF ($2.99). FF #1 had a lot to live up to in order to match the unrealistic expectations I'd created for it in my mind, but it did so easily. I also have to check out Francesco Francavilla's Black Beetle: Night Shift #0 ($2.99). He's been calling me (and all his other blog readers) "pulp friend" for so long that I can't wait to see him unleashed on his own, creator-owned, pulp comic. I remember the brief-lived webcomic version from back in the day and that's made me hungry for more. Finally, I'd give Josiah Grahn and Carl Yonder's Pirate Eye ($3.99) a shot, because I can't think of anything more fun than mashing up pirates and noir gumshoes.

With $30, I'd put all that back and get Richard Sala's Delphine ($24.99). I've wanted a collected edition of Sala's version of Snow White ever since it was released in Fantagraphics' great-looking, but difficult to store Ignatz format. And now I'm finally getting it. Merry Christmas to me.

My splurge for the week is easy. Since I'm already getting Delphine with my regular budget, I'll spend my extra money on Archaia's edition of Jeremy Bastian's Cursed Pirate Girl ($24.95). I've bought this in just about every format it's come out in, and I'll continue buying it. It's just that wonderfully written and I still can't believe the level of detail and craft that goes into Bastian's drawings.

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